Wednesday 30 March 2016

Review ~ Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon


Amy Stevenson was just a normal fifteen year old. She had a boyfriend called Jake, who was gentle and kind and although they shared kisses and held hands at school, they hadn't gone much further than that. However, unbeknownst to Jake, Amy had a dangerous secret; there was someone else who set her pulse racing with excitement. When Amy is attacked and left for dead, no-one, least of all Jake, can understand why this has happened. Fifteen years later, Amy is alive but uncommunicative, trapped on Neuro-Disability ward, in a persistent vegetative state, with no means of interacting, and with her doctor unsure of how much she can still understand of the world around her.

Alex Dale is a free-lance journalist writing an article about Amy’s doctor, a leading expert on vegetative states, who is researching brain activity in patients like Amy who are trapped within themselves. Alex feels an immediate affinity with Amy, they're the same age and grew up in the same place, and as she delves further into Amy’s past life, she realises that there is far to more to discover than she could ever have imagined.

Initially, Try Not To Breathe gets off to a quiet start, which belies the underlying strength of the novel, and in a way, lulls you into a false sense of security, as there is nothing at all gentle about the story. The events in Amy’s life in 1995 and Alex’s investigation in 2010 very soon become the driving force of the novel. Alex has her own demons to work through, and this combined with her sheer dogged determination to finally get retribution to Amy makes for compelling reading. Amy's story, which  is revealed piece by tantalising piece, is especially well explored. I enjoyed getting to know Amy and hearing her thoughts and sharing her feelings really helps in getting  the emotional aspect of the story across in vivid detail.

It's also really interesting to get the perspective of the story from two young women who have both been through such very different experiences and yet, who seem to have common ground.

Try Not To Breathe is a commendable debut novel from a talented new author. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Best Read With…some crispy nibbles and a carefully, measured glass of chilled Chablis..

Holly Seddon

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My thanks to Alison Davies at Corvus for my review copy of Try Not To Breathe



  1. This is just the sort of novel I like to read - one that faces real issues. A brave subject for a first novel so congratulations to Holly Seddon. Loving the title, too...

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my review, Guernsey Girl. Much appreciated :)

  2. ooh, I like the sound of this...great review!

    1. Hi Dawn - thanks for visiting. I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as much as I did !


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